How Website Speed Can Make or Break Your Online Reputation
The easy access to information via smartphones has empowered Canadian consumers to make decisions faster than ever before, and they want to act upon these decisions straight away.
Any hurdles in accessing information such as slow load time of your website can negatively affect your online reputation.
Rise of Smartphone Use
According to Statista, 62.37% of the population in Canada used a smartphone in 2016. The Statista 2016 data showed:
A Google report showed that 82% of smartphone owners used a search engine as the initial step to gratify at least one of their needs.
According to Google, Canadians, in particular, use a search engine at the exact time they want something. This means that they’re more likely to be loyal to their needs than to any brands or products that they’ve used before.
An example of this demand to satisfy one’s need on-the-spot is the rise the search phrase “open now”. The search giant reported that search interest in the keyword phrase “open now” has increased 3 times since 2015.
Expectation to Get Products & Services Immediately
With the rise in smartphone usage, consumers’ expectation to get the products and services they need as soon as possible has also increased.
Canadian consumers, according to Google, aren't any more willing to wait even for a few days for their orders to arrive. They want to get the products or services as soon as possible. The tech giant reported that searches for the keyword phrase “same day shipping” has grown by 160% since 2015.
The Need to Know Where to Get Products & Services
Google research showed that consumers are using their smartphones as “anywhere” assistants, turning to their phones in search of stores where they can visit to get what they want prior to leaving the house – a phenomenon that renders store browsing close to oblivion.
According to Google, over the past 2 years, mobile searches for keywords “where to shop” and “where to buy” have increased by more than 100%.
Speed Equals Revenue
Whether your website visitor is a plan-ahead type, impromptu type or that last-minute type, each of these visitors all want the same experience: they want to get the information they want right here and right now.
The basic website load time can either make or break your brand reputation.
SOASTA’s report "The State of Online Retail Performance" released in Spring 2017 found the following key insights regarding site load time:
Google, for its part, reported that the average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds. Fifty-three percent of mobile site visitors, however, according to Google, abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load.
More than half of the overall web traffic, Google reported, comes from mobile. Despite this traffic lead, mobile falls behind desktop in terms of conversion rates.
Google researchers analyzed 900,000 mobile ads' landing pages in 126 countries. The researchers found that bulk of these mobile sites are slow and stuffed with too many features.
"Our research has been eye-opening,” said Daniel An, Global Product Lead, Mobile Web at Google. “For 70% of the pages we analyzed, it took nearly seven seconds for the visual content above the fold to display on the screen, and it took more than 10 seconds to fully load all visual content above and below the fold.”
You can check how your website fared in terms of speed at Test My Site – a free service offered by Google that analyzes your website in terms of speed and usability.
According to Google, these two are the top factors that affect site loading: number of site elements and number of images.
Researchers at Google said the high number of site elements results in greater site's weight and complexity. A typical webpage today, the researchers said, weighs 2,486KB and holds nearly 100 assets hosted on dozens of different servers – issues that contribute to slow loading.
The second factor that contributes to the slow loading of a page, the researchers said, is the high number of images. A typical page can contain logos, favicons and product images that can easily add up to two-thirds of a page's total weight – equivalent to hundreds of kilobytes. This results in cumulatively slow page loads throughout a session, the researchers said.
Reducing the number of elements and reducing the number of images in your site can make your site load faster.
Google researchers also found that webpages that have more images and other elements result in fewer conversions.
To speed up your site, a mere compression of images and text can make a big difference. Thirty percent of webpages, according to Google, could save more than 250KB through this simple process.
"It's no secret that shoppers expect a fast mobile experience,” An said. “If there's too much friction, they'll abandon their cart and move on. Today, it's critical that marketers design fast web experiences across all industry sectors. Consumers want to quickly pay bills on finance sites, get rapid results when they're browsing vacation reviews, and view an article immediately when they click through.”
How Marketing Across Canada’s Culturally Diverse Consumers Helps Brand’s Reputation
Canada is a multicultural country. Connecting with Canada’s culturally diverse consumers can help your brand’s reputation.
Canada’s Multicultural Landscape
According to Statistics Canada, 1 in 5 Canadians are born outside of Canada. Toronto and Vancouver, in particular, are the most culturally diverse cities, with 49% to 51% of their residents born outside of this country but call Canada home. Statistics Canada said the number of visible minorities in this country will only become bigger, with nearly one-third of the population will be a visible minority by 2031.
A study conducted from June 2017 to July 2017 by MediaCom showed that only 25% of people who self-identify as a visible minority feel that brands speak to people with different cultural backgrounds. More than a third of those who self-identify as visible minority feel that in cases where their ethnicity is represented, it’s frequently done in a stereotypical manner.
Finances and Spending Trends
The MediaCom study found that many of the first-generation visible minorities in Canada are professionals. While their household incomes aren’t higher than the average Canadian consumer, first-generation visible minorities have significant savings.
With their significant savings and the desire to live permanently in Canada, the study found that first-generation visible minorities tend to spend more on personal care to electronic gadgets to cars.
The study showed that first-generation visible minorities in Canada make up 34% of those who opened a bank account in the past 12 months in Canada, 43% of those who subscribed to an internet service provider, and 57% of those who bought a mobile phone.
In the study "Marketing across Canada’s multicultural landscape? New research from MediaCom Canada reveals what you need to know", MediaCom surveyed these ethnic groups: Chinese, South Asian, Latin/Central/South American, Arab, and Southeast Asian (including Japanese and Korean).
These ethnic groups who now consider Canada as their home are mobile-first consumers. The reason why they’re considered as mobile-first consumers is because these ethnic groups came from countries that moved directly to mobile to access the internet, skipping the broadband internet connection phase.
Visible minorities in Canada reported spending 20% less time watching TV, 12% less time listening to the radio and 42% more time on mobile phones compared to the average Canadian consumer.
First-generation visible minorities reported they are exposed to 13 digital touchpoints (defined as any digital means a consumer interacts with a business) each week; second-generation visible minorities said they are exposed to 12 digital touchpoints each week; and the average Canadian consumers said they’re only exposed to 9 digital touchpoints each week.
Marketing in a Multicultural Society
Here are some takeaways on how to connect with Canada’s culturally diverse consumers and in the process help build your brand’s reputation:
If your company wants to connect with the first-generation and second-generation visible minorities, the right venue is the mobile platform. As mentioned, these visible minorities are mobile-savvy, taking into consideration that they’ve skipped the broadband internet connection phase.
As the Canadian marketplace is becoming more and more diverse, it’s important for businesses to balance the need to reach the masses with specific targeting. According to MediaCom, if you want your brand to connect with a particular ethnicity, it’s important to provide content for them in their native language.
Nearly two-thirds of the visible minorities surveyed by MediaCom reported that when brands communicate via advertising using their native language “they feel closer and it makes the brand appear more meaningful”.
“Marketers can serve an ad in a native language, but that is just the first step,” MediaCom said. “They need to create content that accurately represents consumers of different cultural backgrounds. The longer-term goal would be to build culturally meaningful connections with these consumers that celebrates diversity.”
One approach in accurately representing Canada’s diverse cultural backgrounds is by using diverse imagery.
“Businesses and brands have been slow to move with the times as it relates to how they visually market their brand and products,” said Robyn Lange, Curator and photo Editor at Shutterstock. “However, the world is increasingly diverse and multicultural, meaning these businesses need to quickly catch up if they are to continue engaging their customers and growing their business.”
Lange added, “In a time where images and video content dominate our feeds, visual choices are critical considerations as a brand looks to stand out from the crowd and connect with their audience.”
Coca-Cola is an example of a company that promotes diversity and inclusion in its ad campaigns. In the late 1960s, following the Detroit race riots and assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the company came up with an ad that featured African-Americans and whites together – something that the company had never done before.
The ad known simply as “Boys on a Bench” showed an iconic shot of a group of boys – African-Americans and whites – sitting shoulder to shoulder on a segregation bench, with their arms touching across the segregation bar looking relaxed and happy, sharing a lighthearted moment over a Coke.
Companies are beginning to take a stronger stance on diversity and inclusion. For instance, "CoverGirl” launched in late 2016 its diversity and inclusion campaign featuring a Muslim woman wearing a hijab.
A study conducted by Shutterstock and Censuswide showed that UK marketers are increasingly using images that promote diversity and inclusion. Seventy-nine percent of the marketers surveyed by Shutterstock and Censuswide confirmed they are using more images of homosexual couples and 71% are choosing more racially diverse images.
The study showed that marketers are conscious of the need to be more inclusive in the images they choose for ad campaigns, not just for promoting a brand message (30%) but also to better reflect modern-day society (71%).
Nowadays, social media savvy consumers are quick to call out those brands that don’t promote diversity and inclusion in their campaigns. Employees, partners, stakeholders and investors are also becoming less tolerant of homogeneity and are turning to brands that better reflect culturally diverse society.
How Will GDPR Impact Your Organization’s Online Reputation
May 25, 2018 is the enforcement date of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Not many organizations, however, are aware of this implementation date nor are they aware of what the GDPR is all about and its effects to online reputation.
The HubSpot GDPR Survey conducted in the third quarter of 2017 showed that only 36% of business leaders and marketers surveyed heard of GDPR. Put it in a different way, less than half of the business leaders and marketers surveyed by HubSpot are aware that GDPR exists.
As expected, when asked about their preparation for the implementation of GDPR, the answer wasn’t encouraging either, with 42% saying they're only "somewhat prepared" for the GDPR, while 23% saying they aren't sure if their company has started to prepare for the GDPR.
Being compliant with GDPR is more than following the law. Being compliant with GDPR is a brand awareness issue. It sends a positive message to your customers that your organization values their privacy and security.
Recent exposure of high-profile data breaches that of Equifax and Uber showed the world the ill-effects of weak cyber security measures, mishandling of sensitive data and late reporting of data breaches.
What is GDPR?
GDPR is a European Union (EU) law that sets forth harsh penalties to organizations that fail to protect the personal data of EU residents. The law replaces EU’s former data protection legislation, the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC.
The law is aimed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe. Unlike its predecessor the Data Protection Directive, the GDPR isn’t open to interpretation by national governments. It’ll surely send shockwaves, not only in Europe but in other countries as well.
If your organization or business isn’t based in the EU, it’s normal that you’d instinctively dismiss this law for its geographical inapplicability. GDPR, however, shouldn’t be dismissed as solely an EU law as this law has an “extra-territorial” applicability. This means that your organization or business, even though based outside the EU, will still be covered by this law if your organization or business processes personal data – offer goods or services online or monitor the online behavior of EU residents.
Key Provisions of GDPR
Here are the top 5 key provisions of the GDPR:
1. Consent Requirement
Under GDPR, EU customers have the right to choose whether they want an organization or business to store their personal data. They also have the right to choose whether they want to be contacted or not. In the case of a minor, parental consent is required.
2. Right to be Forgotten
Under GDPR, EU customers have the right to be forgotten, also known as the right to erasure. This requires organizations to delete the data of customers that no longer serve the original purpose or when customers choose to decide that their data shouldn’t anymore be processed or stored.
Under GDPR, EU customers have the right to get information from organizations whether or not their personal data are processed, where and for what purpose. Organizations are required to supply customers the information by providing a copy of the personal data, free of charge and in an electronic format.
4. Cyber Security
Under GDPR, organizations are required to implement cyber security measures that ensure safety and privacy of personal data that are being processed or stored. Cyber security measures referred under this law are those that prevent data breaches, not reactionary measures.
5. Data Breach Notification
Under GDPR, organizations are required to report where a data breach is likely to “result in a risk for the rights and freedoms of individuals”. This breach notification must be done within 72 hours after the discovery of the data breach.
For violating the substantial provisions of the law like consent, the maximum fine that can be imposed is 4% of the annual global turnover or €20 Million, whichever is higher. For violating procedural provisions of the law like data breach notification, the penalty of 2% of the annual global turnover or €10 million, whichever is higher, can be imposed.
Based on the HubSpot survey, the following marketing activities are expected to be impacted by the GDPR implementation: how data of customers are collected, security and privacy protocols, email opt ins, length of time personal data of customers are retained in the system, cold calling (sales outreach), how to renegotiate contract of marketing software vendors if they aren't compliant and lead enrichment.
If given the right to choose, EU consumers surveyed by HubSpot said they would:
While less than half of the business leaders and marketers surveyed by HubSpot are unaware and unprepared of GDPR, about half of those represented by those surveyed have undergone or undergoing the following activities in preparation for the GDPR implementation:
With the implementation of GDPR next year, business leaders and marketers surveyed by HubSpot said they will focus on the following:
Learn how to get GDP compliant and protect your business investments using The Driz Group compliance services. They have helped many organizations to make sense of the new legislation.
Online Advertising to Grow 70% by 2021, Forrester Says
Market research company Forrester projected that between 2017 and 2021 online advertising in the US will grow by nearly 70%.
According to Forrester, the growth of online advertising will be driven by the rapid expansion of social media advertising and mobile advertising. Here are some of the key findings of Forrester:
Amazon’s Ad Business & What It Means for Your Business
Forrester forecasted that Amazon’s ad business will reach over $2.5 billion by 2021. The market research company may have undervalued Amazon’s ad business.
According to eMarketer, the total online advertising spending in the US is expected to grow from $72 billion in 2016 to $113 billion by 2020. In the US alone, eMarketer said Amazon is projected to generate $1.65 billion in ad revenue in 2017 and $2.35 billion in 2018.
The $2.35 billion estimated earnings of Amazon in the US market in 2018 is just a fraction of the $22 billion that Facebook and $40 billion that Google are estimated to earn in the US in 2018.
In the article "For Amazon, Online Advertising Can Drive Revenues" published by Forbes, Trefis Team wrote that if Amazon’s ad business is able to take hold of 20% share of this market by 2020, it could generate ad revenues of more than $20 billion.
“Amazon has a strong edge in this space given its relationship with brands and a huge data base of the shopping preferences of its customers,” Trefis Team wrote. “If Amazon focuses on online advertisements, this segment can become a profitable revenue stream for the company in the long term.”
Search Advertising for Amazon.ca Vendors
In October this year, Amazon launched Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) – the company’s search advertising solution for vendors on Amazon in the Canada marketplace.
Amazon reported that 76% of Amazon website visitors use the search bar to find an item. According to measurement and analytics company comScore, Amazon.ca alone attracts over 15 million unique visitors each month – equivalent to close to half of Canada’s total digital population.
Given that the search on Amazon.ca is predominantly used by shoppers to find products, advertising on Amazon is worth exploring today or in the near future. Similar to Google search, search advertising on Amazon can make your product stand out among the competition – driving consideration at a crucial time when a customer needs to decide.
Amazon currently offers the following 3 advertising solutions to Canadian sellers:
1. Sponsored Products
This advertising solution allows businesses to organically promote on top and within Amazon search results. Ads under the Sponsored Products are targeted using keywords to correspond to the search terms used by customers, giving exposure to your product and helping customers in their decision journey. Below is a sample of an ad under Sponsored Products.
2. Headline Search Ads
This ad solution uses targeted keywords to help drive brand awareness. It features 3 products and a brand logo within a prime spot which is at the top of search results. Below is an example of Amazon’s Headline Search Ad.
Using Amazon’s Headline Search Ads can direct shoppers to Amazon Store. An Amazon Store is a do-it-yourself solution that allows you to create your own business store within the Amazon.com platform, giving your customers an easy way to visualize your products. Amazon Store is free and completely self-service for any Amazon seller who is also a brand owner.
3. Product Display Ads
In Product Display Ads, Amazon sellers are allowed to advertise listings via surrounding media on product detail pages. This reaches shoppers when they’re about to buy – the time when they add an item to their shopping cart.
This ad solution is targeted to individual products, product categories or shopper interests. Below is an example of Amazon’s Product Display Ad.
You can manage your Amazon Marketing Services advertising budget in 3 ways:
1. Pay Per Click
In pay per click, you decide how much to bid on an ad click. You won’t be charged more than that amount per click.
2. Pay Per day
In pay per day, you decide how you’ll spend for a day. You won’t be charged more than your daily budget. Once your daily budget is reached, your ads will simply stop running for the day.
3. Pay Per Campaign
In pay per campaign, you have the option to set budget at a campaign level for Headline Search Ads and Product Display Ads. Once the campaign budget is reached, your ads will stop running.
What About Ads via Amazon Alexa Voice?
To date, Amazon doesn’t allow third-party developers to make money from their Alexa apps, through the use of VoiceLab’s “Sponsored Messages” – brief ads that were designed to be interactive.
VoiceLabs CEO Adam Marchick, in a blog post described interactive voice ad this way: "For example, a consumer would be asked if they were going to watch the NBA finals game airing that day. If the user said yes, it would let them know to tune in for the 6pm start time. If not, the Sponsored Message would let them which channel to tune into at 10pm for all the highlights.”
Amazon shut down VoiceLab’s Sponsored Messages project with its May 21st policy change. Amazon, however, allows the following ads in Alexa Voice:
How Customer Service via Social Media Channels Can Improve Online Reputation
Want to improve your organization’s online reputation? The answer may lie in improving your organization’s customer service via social media channels.
Whether it’s praising a company for a great service, venting frustration about bad service or seeking a response for help for a particular service issue, more and more consumers are turning to social media channels.
A study conducted by Research Now and commissioned by Twitter found that 61% of users surveyed see Twitter as the right environment to discuss customer service queries with brands. Forty percent of companies in the retail industry had recently used the platform for customer service; 33% for travel and 28% for telecoms, according to the study.
In another study focused on telecommunication brands, Twitter in partnership with TNS found that those who had received a response from a brand had almost 3 times higher brand preference than those who hadn’t received a response from a brand. The Twitter study also found that consumers are willing to pay an additional $20 or more to travel with an airline company that responds to their Tweet in less than 6 minutes.
According to Twitter, delivering great customer service via its platform “drives and builds customer loyalty”. The company said that 96% of users who turned to Twitter for customer service and had a friendly experience with a brand would buy from that brand again.
Social Media Servicing vs. Social Media Marketing
A study by J.D. Power showed that consumers see social media channels of businesses as a means to engage in customer service. The study found that 67% of consumers have used a company's social media site to engage in customer service (answering specific consumer questions or resolving problems), compared with 33% for social marketing (brand awareness and affinity).
A study by the American Express (PDF) found that consumers are increasingly impatient to wait for customer service via phone or in-person (at a retail store, at a restaurant or at a service provider's office).
The American Express study showed that 1 in 5 or 22% of consumers are only willing to wait less than 5 minutes on hold when they contact a customer service center by telephone, while average consumers are willing to a maximum of 13 minutes. In person, consumers are also willing to wait an average of 13 minutes for customer service help. The American Express study also found that over 1 in 5 or 23% of consumers have utilized social media to get a customer service response.
"Social media and social networking are no longer in their infancy. Social media continues to grow rapidly, offering global consumers new and meaningful ways to engage with the people, events and brands that matter to them,” Nielsen and NM Incite said in their Social Media Report. “The recent proliferation of mobile devices and connectivity helped fuel the continued growth of social media.”
The Nielsen and NM Incite report found that 33% of customers prefer to contact brands using social media rather than the telephone.
The Research Now and Twitter study showed that consumers expect brands to respond quickly to their queries. The study found that 24% of users consider speed as the most important attribute for customer service on Twitter, while a quarter agreed that it’s important. Seventy-one of Twitter users expect a brand to respond to their query within an hour of Tweeting, according to the study.
“Twitter is about what’s happening now,” Twitter in the blog post "Customer Service on Twitter and the impact on brands" said. “That means when it comes to customer service, users expect brands to respond quickly.”
The Future of Customer Service: Chatbots
Responding to consumers’ queries on social media channels is time-consuming and needs more manpower. Many of the queries of consumers are also repetitive. To remedy these issues, brands have engaged chatbots. A very simplistic chatbot is the one that answers your call whenever you call a company’s hotline number. Think of the “Press 1 for …. Press 2 for …. Press for…” response.
Chatbots have come a long way. Their capabilities now go beyond simplistic responses. Facebook, for instance, launched in April 2016 the “bots on Messenger” – a platform that allows businesses to deliver automated customer support, from answering commonly asked questions to selling goods and services via Facebook Messenger.
According to Facebook, in just over two months after the launched of the bots on Messenger, over 11,000 chatbots were launched on Messenger and over 23,000 developers have signed up for Wit.ai's Bot Engine – platform offered by Facebook for developers to create customized chatbots.
For example, it’s now easy to request an Uber ride via Uber’s chatbot on the Facebook Messenger platform. There’s no need to open the Uber app. To request an Uber ride, you simply search “Uber” on Messenger, start a conversation, tap the car icon and then you'll be able to see a fare estimate along with your driver's name, vehicle make and model and license plate number.
As of November 2017, Facebook reported that 2 billion messages are sent and received between consumers and businesses each month via Messenger (including both automated and people-initiated) and there are 100,000 monthly active bots on the Messenger platform.
Facebook said 53% of users who message businesses via Messenger say they are more likely to shop with a business they can message. According to telecom company Globe, using a chatbot on Facebook Messenger provides meaningful and efficient customer service. The telecom company said it successfully increased employee productivity by 3.5 times and reduced calls to its hotline by 50%.
Given that Facebook Messenger has a wide reach, developing a chatbot for your company via the Facebook Messenger is worth considering. Your organization’s customized chatbot can create real-time and scalable customer service experience that feels personal for your customers. This modern way of connecting with consumers comes with a price though, including Facebook fees and the cost for the developer who’ll develop your organization’s customized chatbot for Messenger.
Is Your Brand Ready for Voice Search?
As the market for speakers with personal assistants heats up, voice search intensifies as well.
Smart Speaker Market
Even before Google entered the smart speaker market, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in the middle of 2016 that 20% of mobile queries were voice searches.
In late 2016, Google joined the smart speaker market with its smart speaker called “Google Home”. This market was initially dominated by another tech giant Amazon with its smart speaker called “Echo”. Google Home’s personal assistant is called “Google Assistant”; Amazon Echo’s personal assistant is called “Alexa”.
Almost every tech company that has personal assistant like Microsoft (Cortana), Apple (Siri), and Samsung (Bixby) is developing a smart speaker. Just recently, Chinese internet giant Baidu unveiled its smart speaker called "Raven H". According to Gartner, worldwide spending on virtual personal assistant (VPA)-enabled wireless speakers will reach $2.1 billion by 2020, up from $360 million in 2015.
"A significant number of households could therefore have more than one unit, or even one per room," said Werner Goertz, research director at Gartner. "With smaller form factors, price erosion over the years and potential subsidization models, we expect that 75 percent of households with VPAs will have one, 20 percent will have two, and five percent will have three or more devices by 2020."
According to MindMeld, 61% of users had adopted intelligent voice assistants in the 12 months prior to October 2015. MindMeld found that the popularity of voice assistants has grown due to the hands-free feature, enabling many to do other tasks, in addition to conducting hands-free online search and online shopping as well.
The total global sales of smart speakers in 2017 is expected to reach 4 million units, with an estimated 60% of all smart speakers sold this year will run on Amazon’s Alexa platform, while Google’s Assistant will account for 20% of the sales, according to Strategy Analytics.
How Will Smart Speakers Change Consumer Behaviors
The widespread adoption of personal assistant-enabled speakers could result in an increase of online shopping orders initiated from a smart speaker instead of a laptop or mobile device, Gartner projected.
With Google Home, for instance, you can shop everyday essentials – from food supplies to toiletries. Shopping via Google Home can be done from participating Google Express retailers like Walmart, Whole Foods Market and Whole Foods Market.
To shop via Google Home, you only have to say, for instance, “Ok, Google, order paper towels.” Setting up the shopping feature of Google Home can be done by going to the Google Home app, navigating to “More settings” and then scrolling down to “Payments.” From there, default credit card and delivery address can be set-up.
Google markets its personal assistant-enabled speaker to “understand your context – location, device you’re using, etc.” It currently understands English, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese and Korean.
According to Google, if, for instance, you decide to visit Vancouver, you can ask Google Assistant these questions:
Check the weather: “Ok Google, what’s the weather in Vancouver?”
Check flight schedule: “Ok Google, show me flights to Vancouver on Saturday”
Choose an adventure: “Ok Google, what should I do in Vancouver?”
Places to eat: “Ok Google, what are the best restaurants in Vancouver.”
"Vendors that are able to create an intimate, familiar relationship with the user will be able to contextualize ordering to the extent that preferred products will be proposed, and processing details will already be captured,” Gartner said. “As a result, the user's propensity to purchase products and services using VPA systems should increase, transactional friction could be reduced and the overall user experience would be improved."
How to Prepare Your brand for Voice Search
Given that voice search is a growing trend, here are some tips to prepare your brand for this technological advancement:
1. “Sounds Like” Issue
Comedian John Oliver and his staff created parody websites of the three major credit reporting companies EquifacksDOTcom for Equifax, experianneDOTcom for Experian and tramsonionDOTcom for TransUnion.
“It would clearly be a horrible thing if these actual companies were mistaken for these fake companies. But don’t worry – 95 percent of the time, that won’t happen. And apparently that’s good enough, right?” Oliver said.
While the parody websites of the 3 major credit reporting companies tried to get the message across that millions of people have their reputation tarnished because of major errors on their credit reports as a result of mistaken identity, this parody also showed that variations in pronunciation can affect voice search.
In voice search, take into consideration the variations in pronunciation for your brand name or key search terms. Add these variations of pronunciation to your keyword optimization strategy.
2. Rise in Longer-Tail Searches
In the last 2 years, there has been a rise of longer-tail searches. When people search online by typing words on their computers or mobile phones, shorter keywords are words. But in voice search, people tend to use longer-tail searches. For instance, if one wants to visit Vancouver, one may type in the search words “things to do Vancouver”. In voice search, people tend to use natural language like “What should I do in Vancouver”.
To improve your brand’s visibility via search results, ensure that you offer the closest answer to the voice query.
3. Question-Based Search Phrases
In voice searches, the queries tend to be in the question formats. Questions that start with the word “what” are fairly common. While voice queries expressed in question format may not immediately convert into sales, content that answers these questions could improve brand’s engagement and goodwill.
Anticipate the questions of your consumers by researching the most commonly asked questions about your brand or product and try to optimize answers for the natural language query version.
Artificial intelligence is now a reality within our midst through personal assistants like Assistant (Google), Alexa and Siri. Tech giants like Google, Amazon, Apple and Baidu are continually optimizing their virtual personal assistants to better understand the natural language of humans. Don’t allow your brand to be left behind this modern way of reaching out to your customers – via voice search.
How to Reach Last-Minute Shoppers this Holiday Season
Mobile shopping might have given shoppers the opportunity to shop early for the holiday season, but this technological innovation hasn’t changed consumers’ old habit of procrastination.
It’s never too late to launch your online campaign for last-minute shoppers. According to Google, holiday shoppers redouble their online search to find stores open nearby once it’s already too late to ship.
Here are the top 3 approaches to reach out to last-minute shoppers this holiday season:
1. Target Relevant Keywords
Let’s take a look at the search words used by holiday shoppers as compiled by Google itself.
Use of Broad Search Words
While majority of consumers have something specific in mind when they use Google search, more than 40% of searchers still use broad terms like "living room furniture” or "women's athletic clothing".
Use of “Where to buy” Search Words
In the last 2 years, mobile searches for the keywords “where to buy” have grown more than 85%. Examples of these searchers include “where to buy gift boxes”, “where to buy cards” and “where to buy ugly Christmas sweater”.
On Christmas Eve of 2016, mobile searches for “where to buy Hatchimals”, “where to buy NES classic”, “where to buy Cards Against Humanity” and “where to buy coal” rose. The “where to buy” searches specifically peaked from Dec. 18 to Dec. 23 after the shipping cutoff.
Use of “[Fill in the blank] brands” Search Words
While shoppers have something in mind to buy, they’re open to different brands. During the 2016 holiday season, mobile searches for “[fill in the blank] brands” increased. Examples of these keywords include “makeup brands” (up by 150%), best purse brands” (up by 140%) and “men’s watch brands” (up by 70%).
Use of “Store hours” Search Words
Mobile searches for “store hours” also peaked on Christmas Day 2016, with top searches including “what grocery stores are open on Christmas”, “what stores are open near me on Christmas,” and “what stores are open right now.”
“[fill in the blank] to avoid” and “is [fill in the blank] worth it” Search Words
Consumers don’t only want to know about particular items, they also want to know what specific items or products to avoid. According to Google, mobile searches for “[fill in the blank] to avoid” have increased by 150% over the past two years, while mobile searches for “is [fill in the blank] worth it” have increased by more than 80% in the past two years.
The keywords provided by Google are just general guidelines of what holiday shoppers want. In choosing the best keywords for your online campaign, it’s important to make the keywords relevant to local searchers. Based on a Google study, 4 in 5 consumers conduct their online search with their location and proximity in mind.
2. Target Mobile Phone Users
Google has offered marketers the following relevant numbers about mobile-first shoppers:
A Google study showed that 76% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a local store within a day and 28% of those searches resulted in a purchase.
3. Use Omni-Channel Approach
A 2015 to 2017 study by YouTube – video sharing platform owned by Google – showed that “shop with me” videos have grown in popularity, with watchtime rising more than 10 times in the last 2 years on mobile alone. By watching these “shop with me” videos by random YouTubers, consumers tapped the opinion of others in deciding whether to visit your store or not.
The YouTube study also found that “store tour” videos have soared in popularity, with watchtime growing by over 10 times the past 2 years. With “store tour” videos, your customers can virtually explore your store prior to physically visiting the store.
Shoppers nowadays aren’t satisfied with text or still images alone. Consumers now want to know more about the product beyond the typical product specifications. This explains the amount of time spent watching those unboxing videos of mobile phones on YouTube. Consumers want to see videos about your products or your store. Videos may be time-consuming to make, but these compliment well with your other online campaign.
4. Use Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ad Campaign
The best way to save time and find last-minute holiday shoppers is through PPC campaign, in particular, Google AdWords as Google enjoys the biggest market share in terms of mobile searches.
These Google PPC numbers tell the story:
“Ultimately, showing up gets your brand in the game to be chosen, not just seen,” Google said. “By being there, your brand has the chance to address consumer needs in the moment, help move someone along their decision journey ….”
Don't have time or resources? Our experts will help you grow this holiday season and beyond. Call us today (888) 807-6278
How to Use Patient Online Reviews to Benefit Your Healthcare Facility
A few years back, business reputation was earned by word of mouth. Today’s business reputation still relies on word of mouth – just the digital version of it: online reputation.
Once you put up a business, your customers are bound to talk about your products and services. Instead of telling you, your staff or other customers in person, they’ll tell the whole world about your business online – through online reviews.
How Patients View Online Reviews
Online reviews of healthcare practitioners are particularly sought out by patients. Patients are increasingly turning to online reviews about healthcare providers, just like they do for other products and services.
Fifty-nine percent said healthcare provider rating sites are “somewhat” or “very” important, this according to a 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"Patients are increasingly turning to online physician ratings, just as they have sought ratings for other products and services," researchers said in the article "Public Awareness, Perception, and Use of Online Physician Rating Sites" published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
For years, the academic community and healthcare providers themselves have dismissed online reviews. But the rise of popularity of online review sites like Yelp has forced the issue of online reviews to the forefront. At the end of 2016, the Yelp platform generated a total of 121 million reviews, 6% of them about health care providers.
"After years of academic debate over the role and value of patient-satisfaction scores and reviews of health care providers, Yelp, the online powerhouse of documenting customer satisfaction, is forcing the issue," Dr. Vivian Lee said in the article "Transparency and Trust – Online Patient Reviews of Physicians" published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “Although this free and familiar platform can generate an impressive volume of feedback data, physicians do not always respond positively to the sudden exposure of sometimes negative reviews."
Other online reviews like Google can’t be dismissed. If someone searches your healthcare facility, for instance, Google reviews appear next to your organization’s listing in Maps and Search.
How to Use Patient Online Reviews to Your Organization’s Advantage
Dismissal of online reviews is a passive reaction. Some healthcare providers, however, take their reactions about negative reviews to the next level – to the point of violating patient-clinician confidentiality.
A California dentist reprimanded a patient who accused him on Yelp of misdiagnosing her. “I looked very closely at your radiographs and it was obvious that you have cavities and gum disease that your other dentist has overlooked. … You can live in a world of denial and simply believe what you want to hear from your other dentist or make an educated and informed decision.”
In Canada, the clinician’s confidentiality duty is both a legal and ethical obligation. Canada has privacy legislation that requires the consent of an individual before his or her personal information can be collected, used or disclosed. The Canadian Medical Association's Code of Ethics, in particular, requires physicians to protect their patients' personal health information.
Instead of dismissing, reacting negatively to online reviews, it pays to be positively pro-active in dealing with online reviews. Here are simple steps to claim and improve your healthcare facility’s online reputation and online reviews:
1. Provide Consistent Contact Details
One of the ways to improve your organization’s online reputation is by providing consistent contact details. Across different online platforms, provide consistent contact details, consisting of your organization’s name, address, phone number and website – collectively known as NAP + W.
By providing consistent contact details across different online platforms, Google can validate the information and include this data in its algorithm – giving your organization’s contact details and your organization’s website better visibility in its search result pages.
There are companies that collect contact details of businesses. Google and Yelp subscribe to these data providers. Google, Yelp and similar organizations also scour the internet for contact details of businesses and then add them to their databases. This explains why your organization’s contact details find their way to Yelp, YellowPages and other sites even if no one in your organization created a listing on these sites.
2. Solicit Reviews
Another way to improve your organization’s online reputation is to solicit reviews. While it’s unethical to solicit good reviews, it’s proper to solicit reviews. It’s an established good practice for businesses to solicit reviews in order to get valuable performance feedback for learning and improving. In the past, companies get feedbacks from customers by asking them to drop their written comments into a suggestion or comment box.
After every visit to your healthcare facility, send an email to every customer, asking them about their experience. The email soliciting a feedback is similar to the suggestion box. In the email, provide a link to top review site like Yelp for them to share their positive experience. If they’re dissatisfied with the service, provide a link that goes back to you and your staff. Some healthcare providers offer dissatisfied patients another visit at no cost to correct or remedy the situation.
By providing a link to a top review site, your organization increases your positive reviews. And by providing a link to your organization if they’re dissatisfied, negative reviews can be prevented. We don’t live in a perfect world. By inviting your patients to come back to your facility, your organization will have another chance to offer a better service. This also gives your patients an opportunity to voice out their dissatisfaction directly to you and your staff, instead of blasting your organization over the internet.
3. Provide Staff Training about Good Customer Service
Providing top-notched healthcare service isn’t limited to the clinician’s expert hands. Your healthcare facility will be evaluated by your customers, not just based on the skills of clinicians, but also by the service offered by other personnel in your organization – from cleaning personnel to the receptionist. It, therefore, pays to train your staff to do the best they could from cleanliness to being courteous to customers.
Customers won’t hesitate to give your organization positive reviews if they receive top-notched service from clinicians right down to the receptionist.
Need help with call quality screening and a complete review process automation? Give us a call today to get started and get more positive reviews.
Importance of Online Ads Placement
Billions of the world’s population are now online. If your company plans to turn to online ads to draw customers, ads placement is an important consideration.
A new report from Chief Marketing Officer Council (CMO) and Dow Jones showed that nearly half of consumers stated they would have second thoughts about purchasing from a company or would boycott products and services if they encountered company's ads within or alongside objectionable digital content.
The CMO and Dow Jones report also showed that nearly half of brand advertisers report problems with where and how digital ads are viewed. A quarter of the CMO and Dow Jones survey respondents stated that they’ve specific examples where their digital ads were shown within or alongside offensive or compromising content.
The new CMO and Dow Jones report shows the risks associated with programmatic advertising.
"Our member research shows that clients are going to be putting more pressure on their advertising and media-buying partners to provide greater due diligence, control and monitoring when it comes to ensuring ad placement efficacy through automated platforms," Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of the CMO Council, said. "They want to see greater ad spend effectiveness and better attribution from a performance measurement standpoint. They will also likely dictate which channels are pre-approved and shift spend to those that are most trusted and proven."
What is Programmatic Advertising
Programmatic advertising is a billion-dollar market. According to Zenith Media, programmatic advertising grew from $5 billion in 2012 to $39 billion in 2016, at an average rate of 71% per year. Zenith projected this market to slow down in the coming years as “it consolidates its dominance of the display market”. The programmatic advertising market is projected by Zenith to grow at an average of 28% a year from 2017 to 2018 – hitting $64 billion by 2018.
This advertising model was first promoted as a means to reach target audiences as cheaply as possible, without taking into consideration the quality of the sites in which the ads appeared.
Programmatic advertising refers to the automation of online advertising, where a software program is responsible for picking where the ads run. Before this automated process, advertisers have to personally negotiate where their ads will run alongside with and manual insertions are done. This automated advertising method speeds up and scales the ad buying and selling process in a way that humans can’t achieve manually.
In addition to ads running within or alongside videos, programmatic ads also include Google Pay-per-click (PPC) online advertising, which is powered by algorithms, to serve highly targeted ads at audiences.
YouTube Programmatic Advertising Fallout
n February of this year, The Times ran a story that revealed that brands unwittingly fund extremists groups through online ads.
The Times report showed that on YouTube, the online advertisement for the Mercedes E-Class saloon was shown alongside a pro-Isis video that had more than 115,000 views. A video owner earns an average of $7.60 for every 1,000 views and YouTube takes a 45% cut of the earning.
The online ad for Sandals Resorts, the luxury holiday operator, was shown alongside a video promoting al-Shabaab, the East African jihadist group affiliated to al- Qaeda. Ads for Halifax, Churchill Retirement, Honda, Victoria & Albert museum, Thomson Reuters, University of Liverpool and Waitrose also appeared alongside extremist videos posted on YouTube.
As soon as Google, the owner of YouTube, was informed by The Times, the tech giant took down some of the videos. AT&T and Verizon were some the companies that suspended their ads on YouTube over the placement of their ads in extremist videos.
In an interview with Recode, Philipp Schindler, Google’s chief business officer, said that the company’s YouTube ad controversy where brands found that some of their ads have run alongside videos promoting terror was overblown.
“If you look at it from an advertiser perspective, the error rates we’re talking about – I’m careful in saying this, because I don’t want to take away from the importance of the problem and that we need to get it right – but the numbers are tiny, tiny,” Schindler said.
Even as the Google’s chief business officer said that the problem is “tiny”, the company, he said, is heeding the call to remedy the issue.
"We know advertisers don't want their ads next to content that doesn’t align with their values,” Schindler wrote in a blog post published on March 21, 2017. “So starting today, we’re taking a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content. This includes removing ads more effectively from content that is attacking or harassing people based on their race, religion, gender or similar categories. This change will enable us to take action, where appropriate, on a larger set of ads and sites.”
How to Ensure Your Brand Safety in Programmatic Advertising
We have seen the negative side of automated advertising method as shown in the YouTube fallout. But we can’t deny the fact that programmatic advertising can speed up and scale the ad buying and selling process in a way that humans can’t achieve manually.
Advertising channels like Google search, YouTube and Facebook have the responsibility to ensure that ads don’t run within or alongside fake news, offensive, derogatory, hateful, inappropriate and non-contextual media content.
In today’s digital world, there’s no going back to the bygone days of manual advertising. The online world is simply too big to ignore. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN specialized agency for information and communication technology, projected that mobile broadband subscriptions are expected to reach 4.3 billion globally by the end of 2017.
Drawing customers to your business through programmatic advertising entails added responsibilities on your side. These include choosing the right digital marketing service. The right digital marketing service will ensure that your business ads don’t run within or alongside objectionable digital content. It can better manage and control ad placements, as well as track and monitor digital advertising placements.
Contact us today if you want to ensure the safety of your brand in a programmatic environment.
Here is how to Increase Web Traffic through Social Media
Worried that your organization’s website isn’t getting enough traffic? The answer may lie in social media platforms.
According to a report released in the 1st quarter of 2016 by analytics firm Parse.ly, social media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Reddit, StumbleUpon – drove more traffic to news sites (46%) than search engines (40%).
An earlier report from content marketing hubShareaholic showed that the top 8 social networks (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube) drove 31.24% of the overall traffic to sites for the 4th quarter of 2014, up from 22.71% for the same period in the previous year.
Facebook is the dominant source of social media traffic.
According to Parse.ly, for the 1st quarter of 2016, the lion’s share of the traffic to news sites from social media came from Facebook (41.4%) and bulk of the traffic from search engines came from Google (39.5%).
According to Shareaholic, for the 4th quarter of 2014, one-fourth or 24.63% of the social referrals to sites around the web came from Facebook. Shareaholic, which tracked Facebook’s traffic referrals from 2011 to 2014, noticed a 277.26% increase, from only 6.53% in 2011. Behind Facebook, Pinterest came in as the 2nd top social media referral site (5.06%), followed by Twitter (0.82), StumbleUpon (0.50%), Reddit (0.15%), Google+ (0.04%), LinkedIn (0.03%) and YouTube (0.01%).
Unlike Parse.ly which focused on news websites traffic, Shareaholic sourced its data from diverse sites, including food, sports, parenting, tech, design, marketing, fashion and beauty, religion and general news.
According to nonprofit medical practice and medical research group Mayo Clinic, its top social media referral site to mayoclinic.org in the first quarter of 2017 was Facebook which accounted for 78% of the traffic from social media, followed by Twitter (7%) and StumbleUpon (6%). Mayo Clinic added that in the 1st quarter of 2017, Facebook was also its dominant social media referrer for appointment requests.
Penetration Rate of Social Media, Facebook in Canada
According to statistics portal Statista, as of January 2017, nearly 37% of the world’s population had an account on at least one of the social networks. In North America, approximately 66% has at least one social media account. In Canada, over 20 million people are expected to have a social media account by 2018, Statista projected.
According to Statista, global internet users spend an average of 118 minutes each day surfing social networks, while Canadians spend 107 minutes each day accessing social media from any device.
As with the rest of the world, tech giant Facebook is the most popular in Canada in terms of penetration, with three quarters of Canadians having an active account on this platform. Facebook is also the most visited social network via mobile, Pinterest taking the 2nd spot and Twitter taking the 3rd spot.
User base of Twitter in Canada is projected by Statista to grow from over 3.3 million in 2012 to 7.6 million users in 2020. The professional platform LinkedIn has the highest penetration rate, according to Statista, among residents in Alberta and British Columbia.
Given that Facebook has 1.32 billion daily active users on average and 2.01 billion monthly active users as of June 30, 2017, and given Facebook’s value as the dominant source of social media traffic, here are some strategies that you can use to drive Facebook traffic to your organization’s website:
1. Take Advantage of Facebook Links
In the About page, photo and video descriptions, comments (where relevant), make sure to include links back to your organization’s website.
It’s essential to include links back to your organization’s website in all social media pages of your organization, including Facebook, as social media sites are favored and have high ranking in search engines, including Google. If your organization hasn’t done much to the website, for instance, failing to regularly update the site via blog posts, and your organization has other social media pages, when people search your organization via search engines, links to these social pages show up higher than your website.
2. Provide Brief Quote or Excerpt from Blog Post
When posting links to blog posts, provide a brief quote or excerpt to give the readers a heads up what to expect when clicking on the link. Pick a portion of the blog post that best describes the topic. Use this as a way to entice the reader to click on the link to the blog post.
3. Post Frequently
According to Facebook, based on an experiment that it conducted with 29 media partners, increasing post volume by an average of 45% over a week resulted in a 76% increase in outbound clicks, 47% increase in fans and 10% increase in likes per post.
4. Upload Videos with a Call-to-Action
According to Facebook, more than 4 billion video views happen on Facebook each day. Post videos on your organization’s Facebook page. Be sure to add a call to action to your video to drive viewers to your organization’s website.
5. Use Facebook Ads
It’s a good practice to supplement your Facebook strategies with Facebook ads. Over the past few years, there has been a drop in “organic” or non-paid Facebook post reach. Your organization has no control on who views your Facebook posts. More often, this social media platform gives priority to posts that organizations paid for to be promoted. As it’s becoming increasingly hard for non-paid posts to get the needed exposure, the better option is to make use of the Facebook ads.
The focus must be driving traffic from social media platforms, not to social media platforms like Facebook. Remember that the role of your organization’s social media pages is only to supplement your organization’s site. This site is your very own – your organization has complete control over it. Your organization’s social media pages, on the hand, are only “rented”. Driving traffic to your organization’s site, not to social media pages ensures that if one of these social media platforms were to change its business model today or close its business, your organization still has a venue to engage with your audience.
When you need help generating more targeted web traffic, connect with us and we will be more than happy to help.
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